The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday continued their renewed onslaughts against corruption as they arrested Jigawa State Accountant-General, Commissioner of Local Government Affairs, three Permanent Secretaries and two Local Government Chairmen in Kwara State over alleged diversion of N25 billion local government funds. Reports say the officials of both states were arrested yesterday in their respective states.
Those currently in the net of the anti-graft body are Commissioner of Local Government Affairs, Saliu Mamuda, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government Affairs, Alhaji Ado Ahmed, Accountant General, Sani Ahmed Jahun, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Adamu Muazu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Engr. Datti Ahmed, all officials, of Jigawa State government.
This comes as the trial of a former Personal Assistant to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr. Adeyanju Bodunde, and five others for alleged complicity in the $180 million Halliburton bribery scandal commence today at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Jigawa State government is allegedly involved in a N15 billion local government fund scam, while its Kwara counterpart is alleged to be neck deep in a N12 billion local government fund fraud.
Two local government chairmen that were arrested by EFCC operatives yesterday in Kwara include Irepodun Local Government Chairman, Alhaji Tajudeen Bada, and Elder James Olaniyi of Oke- Ero L.G.A.
The Police Commissioner of Kwara State, Alhaji Muntari Ibrahim, had yesterday addressed a press conference confirming that EFCC operatives were in the state and solicited the co-operation of government officials with the operatives.
It would be recalled that the anti-graft agency had embarked on operation show your state of finance in states perceived to be neck deep in the diversion of local government funds and had received a plethora of petitions from well meaning Nigerians regarding the alleged culpability of some state top officials.
Such states include Jigawa, Kwara, Imo and Rivers adjudged to be in the forefront in the alleged diversion of local government funds.
When contacted, Head, Media and Publicity, of the anti-graft agency, Mr Femi Babafemi, confirmed the arrests of the officials.
He said the Jigawa State Works Commissioner, Alhaji Baba S. Aliyu, could not be traced as he was on the run in connection with an alleged N15 billion fraud, saying his men would expand their tentacles with a view to apprehending him.
Babafemi said: “At the moment, we have only these five in our custody. We have declared the Commissioner of Works wanted.”
Critics however say that the arrests were part of high-wire politics ahead of 2011, saying they were meant to intimidate the state government to support the presidential ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan.